Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be an overwhelming one. Many people who choose to file for bankruptcy protection have never done so before and are not sure what to expect or how to prepare themselves for filing. Fortunately, for those who decide to hire a bankruptcy attorney to assist them, they will have a knowledgeable advisor to guide them through the process.
The First Consultation
The advantage of hiring a lawyer is seen immediately; an experienced bankruptcy attorney will provide you with information and guidance every step of the way. This begins at the very first consultation. If you are serious about filing for bankruptcy, you can take steps to begin the process as soon as you decide to hire an attorney to help you. In preparation for your initial consultation, you can take the initiative by gathering documents and preliminary information that you can bring with you to your first appointment. This will not only help get the process started, but could save you time and money throughout the course of your case.
Documents that you may want to consider bringing with you to your first consultation, or having readily available after making the decision to hire a bankruptcy attorney, include:
- Copies of your driver’s license and social security card
- A list of all monthly expenses and bills, with corresponding statements
- Pay stubs for you and your spouse (if you are considering filing jointly) that represent an average pay period
- Bank statements
- A list of real property you own or have an interest in, including real estate
- A list of any vehicles you own or have an interest in
- An estimated value of your home and any other major assets, including jewelry and other personal property
- The value of any life insurance or retirement policies you have.
Beyond the Initial Consultation
Of course, you will be asked to provide additional as well as more specific information about your financial situation as your case proceeds and your bankruptcy petition is prepared. Your bankruptcy attorney may have forms and other documents particular to his or her practice that will need to be completed before drafting your petition. Your attorney will notify you of your responsibilities at each step, ensuring all procedural requirements are followed and providing you with information in manageable amounts.
Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney
The advantage in having an attorney involved in your bankruptcy case also includes peace of mind: your lawyer is familiar with this process and you can benefit from that knowledge by keeping informed in every step of the process and knowing your case is being handled properly. If you are struggling with significant debt and think bankruptcy is right for you, contact a bankruptcy lawyer today.